Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Cakes & Bakes: Nettle loaf

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

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home-made nettle loaf

Foraging season is upon us again. A fortnight ago I made a batch of wild garlic butter.

nettle loaf ingredients

This week, the stinging nettles are just right for picking. We had a patch in a corner of our allotment that was looking lush and healthy. It’s now had a little pruning session – and is the star ingredient in a nettle loaf.

basic bread dough

Don’t forget, if you’re going to try this recipe, take a pair of gloves and only pick the tips and first two leaves – much like tea-picking, I reckon!

nettle leaves lining a banneton

The nettles make for a rustic, flavoursome and attractive loaf.

bread dough proving and nettle leaves lining a banneton

I’ve used a basic white loaf recipe; but a half & half mixture of white and wholemeal will enhance the earthy, nutty flavour of the nettles. And nettles are SO good for you

kneading nettle leaves into dough wearing kitchen gloves

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Nettle loaf
Yields 1
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Cook Time
35 min
Cook Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 5g/⅙oz active dried yeast
  2. 300ml/10.5 fl oz warm water
  3. 500g/18oz plain flour
  4. 10g/⅓oz salt
  5. handful of nettle leaves
Instructions
  1. Add the yeast to the water and stir to remove any lumps. Add a teaspoon of sugar (optional) to help it along if the yeast is a bit old. Set aside for 15 minutes until it forms a foam
  2. In a colander, rinse & drain the nettle leaves removing any thick stalks. Set aside 4 or 5 of the leaves before roughly ripping the remainder
  3. Add the flour to a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle
  4. Pour the yeast liquid into the well in the flour
  5. Bring the flour into the centre and combine
  6. Add the salt to the dough and knead to form a ball
  7. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough for 10-15 minutes
  8. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour)
  9. Lay the reserved nettle leaves, smooth side down, into a well-floured banneton if you have one. If not, lay them into a well-greased loaf tin
  10. Once proved, empty the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead in the nettles (this is best done wearing a pair of clean rubber gloves)
  11. Form the dough into a ball and place into the banneton (or oblong if using a loaf tin)
  12. Put the banneton/loaf tin into the large mixing bowl and cover with clingfilm and leave to prove, again until doubled in size, in a warm place
  13. Preheat the oven to 240ºC/465ºF/Gas mark 9, put an empty roasting dish on the bottom shelf of the oven and fill a cup with cold water and set aside
  14. Once the loaf has risen, if using a banneton, grease a baking sheet and gently decant the loaf on to it, trying not to knock any air out of it
  15. Quickly & carefully pour the cup of water into the roasting dish before putting the loaf into the oven
  16. After 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 200ºC/ 400ºF/Gas mark 6
  17. Bake for a further 20-25 minutes before taking it out of the oven
  18. Leave to cool on a wire rack for at least half an hour before use
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Sticky ginger loaf

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

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Slice of home-made sticky ginger loaf

Every week I bake Justin a fresh ‘cake to have with a cup of tea at about 3 o’clock’.

Sticky ginger loaf ingredients

Sticky ginger loaf dry ingredients

I usually make something I haven’t tried before so that I can use it as the week’s Cakes & Bakes post.

butter, sugar and syrups in a saucepan

melted butter, sugar and syrups in a saucepan

Today it’s the turn of the sticky ginger loaf. It’s similar to McVitie’s Original Jamaica Ginger Cake oozing with Lyle’s Golden Syrup and Black Treacle.

melted mixture pouring into the dry mixture

adding egg to the sticky ginger loaf mixture

I’ve topped mine with runny ginger icing and sprinkled the top with finely chopped stem ginger.

Uncooked home-made sticky ginger loaf

Uncooked home-made sticky ginger loaf

This tasty, old fashioned cake is quick to make; you’ll probably already have all the ingredients in your store cupboard. It’s perfect if you suddenly realise (like I did) that you’ve run out of ‘cake to have with a cup of tea at about 3 o’clock’!

Home-made sticky ginger loaf

Sticky ginger loaf
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For the cake
  1. 225g/8oz self-raising flour
  2. 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  3. 1tsp ground ginger
  4. 1tsp ground cinnamon
  5. 115g/4oz butter
  6. 115g/4oz demerara sugar
  7. 115g/4oz black treacle
  8. 115g/4oz golden syrup
  9. 250ml/9floz milk
  10. 85g/3oz stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped
  11. 1 egg
For the icing
  1. 80g/3oz icing sugar, sieved
  2. 2tbs stem ginger syrup
  3. 10g/⅓oz stem ginger, finely chopped
For the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4
  2. Grease a 900g/2lb loaf tin
  3. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda & ground spices into a large mixing bowl
  4. Melt the butter, demerara sugar, treacle and syrup over a low heat, until all the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the milk
  5. Add the finely chopped stem ginger to the flour mixture, pour in the melted ingredients, stir thoroughly
  6. Add the egg and combine before pouring the batter into the tin
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes away clean
  8. Allow to cool completely before turning out onto a wire cooling rack
For the icing
  1. Mix the sugar with 2tbs of ginger syrup to form a runny icing (add a tsp of water if necessary)
  2. Drizzle over the top of the cake before sprinkling with the finely chopped stem ginger (or crystallized ginger if you have it)
Adapted from Flora
Adapted from Flora
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Lemon & poppy seed loaf

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

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lemon & poppy seed loaf | H is for Home

Whenever I ask Justin what kind of cake he fancies, his reply always starts with the word ‘lemon’.

lemon & poppy seed loaf ingredients | H is for Home

Lemon isn’t my own personal favourite, but I decided to grant his wish today.

sugar and butter mixture | H is for Home

I’ve made him lemon drizzle cake, lemon curd tarts, lemon marmalade bars, lemon & polenta berry squares, lemon refrigerator cookies…

sifting lemon & poppy seed loaf dry mix | H is for Home

So something new – lemon & poppy seed loaf.

lemon & poppy seed loaf dry mix | H is for Home

It has the sharpness of citrus combined with a slightly earthy tone provided by the poppy seeds.

lemon zest & juice | H is for Home

The cake batter is quick and easy to make.

lemon & poppy seed loaf mixing | H is for Home

I folded whisked egg whites into the batter so the texture wasn’t too dense and heavy.

folding in egg whites to lemon & poppy seed loaf mix | H is for Home

The resulting loaf is substantial, but also light and open textured.

uncooked lemon & poppy seed loaf mixture in tin | H is for Home

It’s topped with a lemon glaze and a zingy, crunchy sugar topping…

glazing a lemon & poppy seed loaf | H is for Home

…another request from the lemon-meister!

close up of sliced lemon & poppy seed loaf | H is for Home

It’s one of those perfect afternoon cakes to complement a nice cuppa… and his Lordship is very happy! :-)

Lemon & poppy seed loaf
Serves 8
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For the loaf
  1. 115g/4oz butter, softened
  2. 225g/8oz caster sugar
  3. 3 eggs, separated
  4. 185g/6⅔oz plain flour
  5. ½tsp baking powder
  6. ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  7. pinch salt
  8. 1tbs poppy seeds
  9. 85g/3fl oz buttermilk
  10. juice of 1 lemon
  11. zest of 2 lemons
For the glaze
  1. 1½tbs icing sugar
  2. juice of half a lemon
  3. ½tbs granulated sugar
  4. pinch of lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
  2. Grease a 900g/2lb loaf tin
For the loaf
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter & caster sugar until light & fluffy
  2. Mix in the egg yolks
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt
  4. Mix in the poppy seeds
  5. In a measuring jug, add the buttermilk, lemon juice and lemon zest (reserve a pinch of the zest for the glaze)
  6. Add the dry, flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture in two batches; interspersing it with adding the buttermilk & lemon mixture
  7. Whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks before folding into the mixture
  8. Spoon the mixture into the greased loaf tin and bake on the lowest shelf for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes away clean.. If the top of the loaf begins to get too brown, cover with tin foil
  9. Whilst the cake is cooking, make the glaze.
  10. Add the lemon juice & icing sugar to a small measuring jug and stir until any lumps have been removed. Set aside
  11. In a small bowl, add the granulated sugar & lemon zest and with your fingers using a crumbing motion. Set aside
  12. Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin
  13. Whilst still warm and using a pastry brush, spread the lemon juice & icing sugar glaze uniformly over the top
  14. Once completely cool, remove the cake from the tin a place on a cake plate
  15. Sprinkle the granulated sugar & lemon zest mixture over the top of the glazed cake
  16. It's now ready to serve!
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Red velvet cake

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

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slice of red velvet cake with cup of tea | H is for Home

 For ages I’ve admired all the images of red velvet cakes that show up in my Pinterest stream. The cakes, which are an American phenomenon, look amazing but I had no idea what they tasted like.

unpacking red velvet cake with cup of tea | H is for Home

When we were sent these heart-themed baking accessories by Meincupcake, I decided that the day had arrived for me to embark upon my red velvet cake challenge!

red velvet cake with cup of tea | H is for Home

As far as I could tell from the photos I’d seen, most red velvet cakes adhere to certain rules; layers, cream cheese frosting and a propensity towards flamboyance!

red velvet cake dry ingredients | H is for Home

I need to point out, I used the Rowntree cocoa that I already happened to have in the store cupboard. It was Dutch processed, meaning that during production, it has been ‘alkalised’ to give it a smoother flavour. I could tell by looking at it that it had been processed because it’s quite dark brown. Unprocessed cocoa is often referred to as cacao and is much lighter in colour.

red velvet cake wet ingredients | H is for Home

Unprocessed cocoa is called for in the recipe (although it’s not absolutely necessary) as all kinds of alchemy are involved in the making of the cake! The cocoa, buttermilk, baking soda and vinegar all commingle to produce the most moist, light, heavenly cake you’ve ever tasted – with the brightest, reddest crumb!

adding food colouring to red velvet cake batter | H is for Home

Now that I’ve got the Dutched versus un-Dutched details out of the way, let’s get on to the business of cake-making!

adding buttermilk to red velvet cake batter | H is for Home

As I mentioned before, there’s a lot of science involved in making red velvet so the order in which the ingredients get added really makes a difference.

folding in egg whites to red velvet cake batter | H is for Home

The buttermilk and the vinegar add acidity to the mix producing a bubbly chemical reaction with the alkaline baking powder and helping make the red colour really bright.

folding in egg whites to red velvet cake batter | H is for Home

The eggs are separated and the egg whites whipped into peaks and folded in gently at the end to add even more lightness to the sponge.

red velvet cake batter in heart-shaped cake tins | H is for Home

I think I mentioned previously that big cakes are just too much for just the two of us (even with me being a greedy cake eater!). So, instead of making a 4-tiered cake, I made a large 2-tier and a smaller 2-tier cake, giving one of the cakes away to friends.

cooked red velvet cakes in heart-shaped cake tins | H is for Home

I wanted to use both my newly-acquired accessories in this recipe, so I thought I’d use the pastry cutters to make red, heart-shaped shortbread biscuits to adorn the cake.

making red, heart-shaped shortbread biscuits | H is for Home

 I love cream cheese frosting, especially on carrot cake. Next time though, I’ll tweak the recipe so the mixture is firmer and less runny.

making cream cheese frosting | H is for Home

It’s delicious either way, but when it’s firmer you’re able to pipe the frosting on the top and have a thicker layer of it in the middle.

frosted & decorated red velvet cake with cup of tea | H is for Home

The resulting cake was so MASSIVE, we didn’t have a big enough plate to hold it!

detail of frosted & decorated red velvet cake with cup of tea | H is for Home

I think I remained very restrained with my cake embellishments – I was considering red edible glitter, hundreds & thousands… in the end, I just studded it with a few little chocolate beans.
frosted & decorated red velvet cake with cup of tea | H is for Home
I’m really happy with my first attempt and can’t wait to have another go!

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Red velvet cake
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for the cake mixture
  1. 475ml/16fl oz vegetable oil
  2. 3 large eggs, separated
  3. 1½tsp vanilla essence
  4. 6tbs red food colouring
  5. 450g/15½oz granulated sugar
  6. 440g/15½oz self raising flour
  7. 60g/2oz cocoa powder (preferably not Dutch processed)
  8. 1½ tsp salt
  9. 250g buttermilk
  10. 2tsp baking soda
  11. 2½tsp white vinegar
for the frosting
  1. 280g/10oz cream cheese
  2. 125g/4½oz butter, softened
  3. 250g/9oz icing sugar (sifted to remove any lumps)
  4. 2tsp vanilla essence
for the shortbread
  1. 125g/4oz butter
  2. 55g/2oz caster sugar
  3. 180g/6oz plain flour
  4. 1tsp red food colouring
to decorate
  1. chocolate beans, glimmer sprinkles or heart confetti (all completely optional!)
for the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease cake tins well (I used the 25½cm/10-inch and 30½/12-inch heart-shaped cake tins)
  3. Separate the eggs and set aside
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the vegetable oil and sugar until dissolved
  5. Mix in the egg yolks before carefully adding the food colouring (you don't want to splash red all over yourself!)
  6. In another mixing bowl, combine the flour cocoa powder and salt
  7. Add these dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two batches, alternating with adding the buttermilk
  8. Using an electric mixer in yet another mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. Set aside
  9. In a small bowl or teacup, mix the baking powder and vinegar
  10. Add to the batter
  11. Carefully fold the egg whites into the batter
  12. Divide the batter between the cake tins
  13. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes away clean
  14. Allow to cool completely in the tins
  15. Carefully remove from the tins and slice each cake in half horizontally using a large serrated knife (like a bread knife)
for the frosting
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese
  2. Gradually add the icing sugar until completely mixed in
  3. Cover with cling-film and keep refrigerated until you're ready to use
for the shortbread biscuits
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar and food colouring together until smooth
  2. Add the flour and mix until the the colour is uniform and the dough comes together into a large ball
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently roll out thinly until the mixture is about ½cm/⅕in thick
  4. Form into shapes (I used the smallest size heart-shaped pastry cutter) and place onto a greased baking sheet
  5. Sprinkle liberally with caster sugar before chilling in the fridge for about 20 minutes
  6. Bake for 5-8 minutes, or until pale pink
  7. Allow to cool on a wire rack
Adapted from New York Times
Adapted from New York Times
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

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Cakes & Bakes: Coconut brownies

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

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stack of home-made coconut brownies with mug of coffee | via @hisforhome #recipe #chocolate #brownies

Justin and I share similar tastes in a lot of things, desserts are not one of them. He prefers lemon tarts & drizzles – cream cakes too. I adore chocolate fudge cake, death by chocolate, chocolate brownies… you get the picture! We do occasionally have common ground; we both like carrot cake and baked vanilla cheesecake.

coconut brownie ingredients | via @hisforhome #recipe #chocolate #brownies

Last week I was lamenting his lack of love of brownies when he said, “Coconut brownies might tempt me.” That was all the encouragement I needed to whip up a batch.

coconut brownie dry and wet ingredients | via @hisforhome #recipe #chocolate #brownies

I made it with cocoa instead of the usual dark chocolate and used less butter than would be usual as I wanted a dryer, less dense and chewy texture.

coconut brownie dough | via @hisforhome #recipe #chocolate #brownies

He hasn’t said whether he liked it or not. All I know is that it didn’t hang around for long! :-)

sliced home-made coconut brownies | via @hisforhome #recipe #chocolate #brownies

Click here to pin the recipe for later

Coconut brownies
Yields 9
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Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 75g/2½oz cocoa
  2. 75g/2½oz dessicated coconut
  3. 150g/5⅓oz caster sugar
  4. 50g/1¾oz plain flour
  5. 1tsp baking powder
  6. pinch of salt
  7. 175g/6oz butter
  8. 3 eggs
  9. 1tsp vanilla essence
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2
  2. Grease a 20cm² / 8inch² cake tin
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre
  4. In a small bowl, microwave the butter for about 15-20 seconds to just liquefy but not cook. Allow to cool slightly
  5. Lightly whisk the eggs in a measuring bowl before adding the vanilla essence
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the well of the dry ingredients and combine well using a spatula
  7. Pour the batter into the greased tin and bake for 25-30 minutes
  8. Allow to cool in the tin before slicing into squares
  9. Can be stored in a cool place in an airtight container for about 3 days
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
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